In-Yer-Face Theater

“In-yer-face theater is the kind of theater which grabs the audience by the scruff of the neck and shakes it until it gets the message”; that is the definition given by the movement itself. Although quite unknown to the general public, ‘In-yer-face theater’ emerged in Great Britain in the 1990s and is an artistic movement easy to remember. Deeply influenced by the “Theatre of Cruelty” of the French writer and director Antonin Artaud, ‘In-yer-face theater’ is born from the will of the authors and directors to affect the audience as much as possible. Its pieces are characterized by their harsh vocabulary and by the taboo themes which they develop, i.e. mainly sex, violence and consumerism. Curiously, the majority of ‘in-year-face’ plays are “experiential” in the sense that they intend to make the audience feel the same extreme emotions that are shown on stage to the point that the spectator might actually want to get on stage and stop the action happening. The most notorious authors of this movement are Mark Ravenhill, Anthony Neilson and Sarah Kane. They were repeatedly accused of confusing subversion with gratuitous violence. Yet, they claim that it was only through controversy and provocation that real criticism of society could be dressed. You can learn more about it here!

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